Friend of the Court
Recent California Amicus Brief Involves Tired Old Myths About PAS
Posted Jun 20, 2012
A recent Amicus brief written by DV Report, The Leadership Council, Justice for Children, , The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, California Protective Parents Association, and Sheila James Kuehl dated November 22, 2011was filed in order to prevent the judge from transferring custody of 4 children to their father from whom they were alienated. According to the brief, “PAS posits that when children reject their father and they or their mother make abuse allegations, that behavior is most likely the product of a mother’s alienating tactics rather than actual experience of abuse” (page 14). The case was McRoberts (mother) v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County and Steven Lesserson (father).
Statements like this infuriate me because they pack so many untruths. First, there is the presumption that all PAS cases are ones in which the mother is the favored parent and the father is the rejected parent. This is not what Dr. Gardner wrote about and it is not consistent with research on the topic, which clearly shoes that mothers can become innocent victims of their former spouses malicious manipulation of the children. To propagate misunderstandings/untruths such as this does a lot of damage to mothers everywhere who are seeking validation and support in their efforts to deal with the alienation of their children.
Second, PAS theory does NOT posit that when a child rejects a father it MUST be because of alienation rather than actual abuse. In fact, Gardner and those who follow in his footsteps emphasize that bona fide abuse and neglect must be ruled out prior to a decision about PAS being made.
Third, PAS theory does not state that simply because one parent makes an allegation against the other that it is ipso facto alienation. As noted above, abuse allegations must be investigated prior to alienation being determined.
I have tried to have a discussion with the folks at California Protective Parents Association but they did not want to have a discussion with me, although the woman I was communicating with offered to pray for me. I cannot help but conclude that they are willfully choosing to be ignorant about what PAS theory really is so that they can continue to hate us. In order to acknowledge that we who endorse the concept are not evil or crazy, they would have to give up their bogey man. In that way they are committed to their delusion every bit as much as alienated children are committed to theirs. I typically encourage alienated parents to never give up on their alienated children and I will follow my own advice and continue to reach out to these groups in order to one day achieve a mutual understanding.